Eye Infections

Eye infections are not only uncomfortable, they can cause long-term sight problems. The providers at MaineHealth have the specialized training and experience to care of your eye problems.

What is an eye infection?

Eye infections can be caused by bacteria, viruses or fungi. Eye infections can happen in one or both eyes. Some eye infections are contagious. It is important to use good hygiene to avoid spreading the infection.

Eye infections are usually easy to treat. An untreated eye infection may cause long-term vision damage.

Eye infection symptoms

  • Redness

  • Swelling

  • Pain

  • Discharge

  • Itching

  • Blurred vision

  • Sensitivity to light

  • Watery or dry eyes

Diagnosing eye infections

Your provider will talk with you about the symptoms and examine your eye or eyes. Discharge may be sampled for testing at a lab.

How are eye infections treated?

Most eye infections are treated with eye drops or ointments. These put the medicine right in your eyes and help with irritating symptoms.

  • Do not let the dropper or tube touch any part of the eye, including your eyelashes.

  • Make sure to follow instructions for using the medication.

  • Wash your hands before and after using eye drops or ointments.

  • Do not touch or rub your eyes to avoid spreading the infection to others.

Some eye infections require more treatment than just eye drops or ointment. Other treatments may include warm compresses and antibiotics. Your provider will decide the best treatment option for you.

If you wear contacts, it is important to avoid using contacts until the eye infection has cleared up. Wear glasses until symptoms are gone.

You can prevent eye infections. Here are some general tips:

  • Avoid touching your eyes with your fingers

  • Wash your hands often

  • Use disinfectant spray on counters and doorknobs

  • Keep towels and bedding clean

  • Do not share makeup

  • Replace contact lenses as instructed, and do not sleep in your contact lenses